A Device for Every Student

July 31, 2020

America has faced a complete shift in thinking since the beginning of COVID-19. But schools are facing unprecedented challenges trying to teach students during the pandemic, as well as planning for what the fall semester will look like amidst such uncertainty. This is putting higher demand on their teachers and staff; asking them to do more with fewer resources. One of the biggest challenges schools are facing is the implementation of one to one (1:1). 1:1 is the concept of one computer, tablet or Chromebook per student. This is the first step in enabling anytime, anywhere learning which will be important this fall to allow schools flexibility and agility in how they deliver learning. For many schools, 1:1 was an aspirational goal to achieve. Implementing 1:1 requires planning, resources, expertise and of course, money. So only the most well-funded schools managed to pull it off year-over-year, either due to an affluent tax base, technology bonds, foundation grants or the like. With what we saw this past spring, 1:1 is no longer a luxury but a necessity for every student.

This need could not come at a worse time for schools. Budgets are being slashed, resulting in less money to buy these new devices. At the same time, there is a global supply shortage of consumer devices due to critical component shortages from companies such as Intel. Manufacturing shutdowns, logistical interruptions, as well as sheer demand has been a problem as well. Low-cost student devices have become a commodity as scarce as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE.) Large districts are finding themselves entrenched in bidding wars for hardware and having to leverage their buying power, while small schools are left fending for themselves.

What can a school do to overcome these challenges? One option is to refresh and repurpose aging computer hardware that a school might already own. Schools could also receive hardware from other districts that have the financial resources to refresh their current systems and would be willing to donate or sell their old systems. Lastly, schools should look for devices via corporate donations of old business computer systems. On average, businesses refresh their computer hardware every four years. Many of them throw those old devices away or even pay to have them removed. This opens a great opportunity for both the business and any school to benefit. The business gets the tax write-off by donating, and the press of doing a great deed. Most importantly, the school gets much-needed hardware. Schools can mobilize the parents of their student body to go out to their friends, families and even their own employers to see if their businesses are willing to donate.

So, you’ve found donors for devices. Now what? Those devices may be of varying makes and models and running different operating systems. This sounds like an IT nightmare, but it does not have to be. All Covered has partnered with Neverware and its product, CloudReady to offer a turnkey solution that can breathe new life into older hardware.

CloudReady is built on the same foundational technology as Chromebooks and Chrome OS. It converts nearly any Windows or Mac system into a Chrome Device. Over time, hardware running large cumbersome operating systems such as Windows 7, Windows 10 or Mac OSX becomes slower. However, that same device can run much faster with a “lightweight” operating system like CloudReady. Once the conversion process is complete, all these systems, no matter what brand they were before or what operating system they were running, are now all running CloudReady and can be managed and controlled like any Chromebook. Computers that were once destined for the trash can now serve many more years of service in a school for a fraction of the cost of buying a new one.

Some of the benefits of CloudReady

  • Unparalleled speed, simplicity and security of Chrome OS—on any hardware
  • Convert legacy Windows and Mac devices so you can manage your entire fleet together, alongside your Chromebooks, using the Google Admin console
  • Eliminate IT’s need to re-image devices, install updates and worry about security risks on unpatched machines
  • CloudReady updates are installed automatically and seamlessly in the background, just like Chromebooks
  • CloudReady machines are compatible with all US digital testing platforms that support Chrome OS, making digital testing setup quick and easy

All Covered can help schools convert quickly and easily to CloudReady. We can process thousands of devices a day through our deployment center, allowing schools to deploy thousands or tens of thousands of devices in days or weeks rather than months. This allows us to get devices into students’ hands quickly and keep the schools’ IT teams focused on the bigger picture of IT operations and supporting the end users. Contact us today for assistance and to learn more.

Jon Clemons
National Practice Director - Education IT Services

Jon Clemons has spent more than a decade consulting and supporting school districts on how to optimize their technology and protect their data and students.